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Monday, March 20, 2023

Media: Switzerland to dismantle outdated missiles instead of sending them to Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news deskMarch 12, 2023 3:07 pm

Switzerland is getting rid of outdated Rapier surface-to-air missiles that could have been used by Ukraine to shoot down low-flying targets, Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported on March 11. 

A spokesperson for the Swiss Federal Office for Defence Procurement (Armasuisse) said that all Rapier short-range anti-aircraft missile systems would be dismantled, according to NZZ. 

The Rapier missile was originally developed for the British army and is capable of shooting down high-maneuverability targets.

The newspaper reported that the disposal of weapons has caused a backlash from some Swiss politicians.

The Swiss government prohibits countries that purchase Swiss arms from re-exporting them without permission. Swiss neutrality also dictates that Switzerland will not send weapons directly or indirectly to any side of a war. 

In February the Swiss government refused to let Spain transfer Swiss-made anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine.

Earlier, Bern rejected requests from Denmark and Germany, which wanted to supply Swiss-made armored vehicles and ammunition to Ukraine.

The country also has an embargo on arms sales to Ukraine and Russia. 

Reuters reported on Feb. 7 that Switzerland could end a ban on exports of Swiss weapons to war zones as a shift in public and political opinion puts pressure on the government to end the centuries-long tradition of being a neutral state. 

The Kyiv Independent news desk
The Kyiv Independent news desk

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